To start Club 4
When you first start a club, finding players will be the toughest hurdle to overcome. Outside of Japan, riichi mahjong is undoubtedly a niche game, so it is difficult to find existing players and try to create new ones.
Let’s take a look at how clubs currently try to attract new players.
1. Social media
Most clubs have social media accounts, including Facebook, Discord, Twitter, etc. Having an online presence is important so that players who are looking for a place to play can find you. After all, most players outside of Japan learn about mahjong from internet sources.
2. Anime conventions / Japanese cultural events
Nowadays, there are many anime, board game, card game, and other hobby-related conventions in the United States. Mahjong clubs often host panels at their local conventions. This is a way to attract players from other backgrounds that may have an interest in a game like mahjong. There are also many events that celebrate Japanese culture. Riichi mahjong is part of the pop culture in Japan, so it is very possible that you could find players at such events.
3. Local shops and other places where people might be interested
It is unlikely that you would find a local place that specifically hosts mahjong events. However, you could try to find players at shops that cater to players who may have interests or backgrounds related to mahjong. Board game cafes, trading card game shops, anime stores, Japanese clubs, or any other similar stores or groups might help you to find new players. You may even find success asking around Japanese restaurants. There is no guarantee that any of this may work in your area, but the only way to find out is to try asking.
Some clubs use the Meetup application for finding new players. It costs money to host a club on Meetup, but you can link this with your social media accounts to help find more players.
The most important thing when starting a club is to recruit and teach players. It may be difficult to find players locally, but that is why having an online presence on social media is crucial. This is one of the reasons why we founded Mahjong Stars: to share information, teaching methods, forms, events, and more.
The hardest part will be starting up the club. However, please take a look at the Oklahoma Mahjong club founded by Zac. When he first started his club, he complained that not many people in his area were interested in mahjong due to the region. But Zac and everyone at Oklahoma Mahjong have been working their hardest to attract new players, and now his club is one of the more active clubs in the United States.
Even if you already have enough players for a table or two, recruiting is still important. There will be a time when some of your club members move away or maybe just run out of free time to play mahjong. A constant effort to recruit new members will help your club continue to grow.